5 ways to lead digital transformation

Updated: Mar 1


Digital transformation continues to move more rapidly impacting many industries. Innovation in digital technologies and new business models is expected to continue in the upward trajectory, with new disruptive technologies introduced in the market.  According to Gartner (2017) hype cycle for emerging technologies, understanding these eight new technologies will support Enterprise Architectures and Technology Innovation Leaders in building on key themes of Artificial Intelligence (AI), everywhere, transparently immerse experiences and digital platforms:

  1. 5G.

  2. Artificial General Intelligence.

  3. Deep Learning.

  4. Deep Reinforcement Learning.

  5. Digital Twin.

  6. Edge Computing.

  7. Serverless PaaS.

  8. Cognitive Computing.

New business model innovation involves radically shifting how you capture, create and deliver value to your customers. Re-imagining the nature of competition in your industry and re-inventing your value chain. The diagram below depicts five critical components required to successfully lead digital transformation.

Digital Vision

It is essential to have a clear and compelling transformative vision of what good looks like in the future and to focus your energy towards that vision. The vision should paint a picture of how digital technologies will transform your business, articulating the important role that people play in making that vision possible. Leaders should communicate the vision with certainty, clarity and eliminate any ambiguity. Get buy-in from the people (employees). If everyone in the organization fully support the vision, nothing will stand in the way to make it materialize.

Digital Strategy

Digital is fundamentally changing the competitive landscape in many industries. Digital strategy is invented and ignited by leveraging digital technologies to transform the entire business (internal capabilities) and creates a superior and differentiated customer value. Digital strategy address the challenges of integrating and exploiting new digital technologies. The digital strategy should adopt a customer oriented approach. Pursuing better ways to improve customer value. It addresses the what, where, when, who and how of business strategy. Enabling digitization of processes to improve efficiency and agility. A clear and coherent digital strategy is essential to enable the organization to respond with agility to the evolving competitive landscape.

Leadership Capabilities

Leadership turns vision and strategy into action, leverage digital technologies to transform the organization. Strong leaders mobilize people towards a clear and compelling transformative vision of the future, set SMART goals to achieve the organization's vision. They are hands on, empower their teams, committed to drive change forward and minimize opposing forces. They continuously look for better ways to execute strategy; to successfully deliver organization's vision and expected business outcomes.

Digital Capabilities

Technology connects us with friends and family using social media platform such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Enable professionals to connect, network, collaborate and share ideas and insights using LinkedIn. Co Founders Lab enable entrepreneurs to connect, meet and collaborate with like-minded people. Technology also connects organizations within supply chains, Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-customer (B2C). The common themes emerging are flexibility, convenience and enhanced user experience. This is possible by utilizing digital technologies such as Big data and analytics, AI, Internet of Things (IoT), mobile, social media and cloud computing, to name a few. Organizations that are successful with digital transformation are using these digital capabilities to: 

  • build new business models;

  • transform existing business models;

  • understand customer preferences;

  • personalize products and services;

  • empower employees; and

  • improve customer experience.

The pharmaceutical industry is undergoing a transformation. For example, prevention diagnosis and personalization of patient treatment will transform health care. High Tech companies are starting to invest in health care. According to CNBC (2018) Apple is opening health care clinics for employees and their families. Apple follows Amazon, which recently teamed with J.P. Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway to announce a plan to revamp health care for their employees. It is far cheaper to prevent disease than treat people who are sick. Strong digital threats are emerging in health care industry. Other organizations may follow suit and disrupt the industry. 

Digital culture

Digital inspires new ways of thinking, changes how people work and how product and services are offered. Digital technologies are helpful, however consuming latest trends is not enough to succeed in the digital era. Strong leadership and people brings digital technologies to life. Leading in the digital era requires us to rewire our mind-set to avoid being irrelevant. For example, technological advancement is happening at a rapid pace. Therefore we should embrace the culture of continuous learning to renew old skills and cultivate new skills. Foster customer-centric, collaborative, innovative, agile, adaptive and risk culture (fail fast and learn quickly). Digital culture can be a competitive advantage for organizations that embraces change in the digital era. 

Conclusion

The future is unpredictable. These five ways to successfully lead digital transformation are guaranteed to provide true digital advantage for organizations that invest in them. Organizations need to harness the benefits of digital vision, strategy, strong leadership capabilities, digital capabilities and use the attributes of digital culture to build competitive advantage. 

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